Week 3 – Altar, Sabbats & Esbats

May 26, 2010 at 3:24 am (Uncategorized)

Altar
Should be made of something natural such as wood or marble. If you use a dresser, use a cloth that separates the area from the rest of the dresser. The altar should have its back to the North (traditional) or East (Celtic).
Four sacred tools that must be on the altar:

  1. Chalice – a vessel used only for the altar, made out of anything
  2. Athame – double edged knife (traditionally was black handled)
  3. Wand – preference for willow, must be made of wood
  4. Patent (Pentacle) – can be metal or glass

Other pieces

  1. Offering dish – can be anything, for offering libations to Goddess/God, anywhere on the altar
  2. Small dishes (2) – water (left side to the top of the pentacle), salt (right side to the top of the pentacle
  3. Candles – a Goddess candle (silver or yellow) and a God candle (gold or green)
  4. Center Candle – Spirit candle (white), in the center back
  5. Censor – incense burner

Cool side – left side

  • Aligns with Goddess (chalice, water dish) (Goddess figure goes in the back)

Warm side – right side

  • Aligns with God (athame, wand, salt dish) (God figure goes in the back)

Pentacle (center-front)

Sabbats
Lesser sabbats occur on an equinox or solstice. Grand Sabbats do not fall on a equinox or solstice.
Dark Holidays

  • Samhain (Nov 1 at midnight, pronounced “sow wen”) – New Year’s (Grand Sabbat – Goddess) Beginning of the ancient liturgical year (Celtic calendar). Honor the spirit world, spirits of ancestors, deceased, loved ones, and spirit guides. We reflect on our own mortality and also on the never-ending cycle of life and death and the transformation between the two. It is also celebrated as the final harvest focusing on the roots. It is a lunar or grand sabbat meaning that we honor the Goddess. Celebration includes work with spirit and a “dumb supper” because it is silent. “Dumb Supper” is a potluck supper. Must wear the black cloak made of natural fiber. All clothing must be natural fiber underneath.
  • Yule (Dec 20-22) – Midwinter or Winter Solstice. On or around Dec 21, celebrates the rebirth of the God. (Lesser Sabbat – God) Comes from “Lul” and celebrates winter. Solar sabbat that honors the rebirth of the Sun or the birth of the God by lighting a yule log (oak log burned the year before, but not burned completely, add a new log.) Oak King battles with beats the Holly King (the Oak and Holly Kings are the two faces of the Green Man). The Holly King became the Christian version of Santa Claus. The Holly King is the lord of death. The Oak king beats the Holly King and ushers in new life.
  • Imbolc (Feb 1) – (Grand Sabbat – Goddess) Festival of the beginning of Spring. It represents new life on Earth and the growing strength of the sun. It is the festival of lights and the festival of the dawn. We encourage the growth of the Sun or the youthful God. Place them in every window to encourage the God to grow. This is the time of Groundhog Day. This was connected to when the ancients who relied on observations of nature to see how the animals came out. If they burrowed again, then it was not yet time to plant. In ancient days, it wasn’t focused on the groundhog. They watched all of the animals to see what they were doing. This is a Lunar Grand Sabbat. It is sacred to dawn and fire paying homage to Brigid, maiden goddess of fire and inspiration. Also called Oimelc (pronounced “e milk”) for the lactation of the ewes. Imbolc means “in the belly.”
  • Ostara (March 20-22) – Spring Equinox (Lesser Sabbat – God) Like Samhain is a very powerful time of the year. It is when day and night is equal and when the veil between the worlds is very thin. It is a celebration of the dawn and life. Comes from Ost or East. Goddess Ostre had the totems rabbit and chicken. Eggs mean rebirth. Celebrates renewed life. Eggs are painted in various colors and used in sacred rituals before they are eaten. Baby animals represents renewal. Solar sabbat paying homage to the young god who is the custodian of the young plants and animals and growing sunlight. He is the “Green Man” of the young god. Aka “Jack in the Green,” “Green George,” etc. Represented in the tree. Maypoles set in the ground and represents the phallus of the young god. Maiden goddess is the lady of the dawn.

Light Holidays

  • Bealteinne or Beltane (May 1) – (Grand Sabbat – Goddess) Begins light half of the year, and summer in the traditional sense. Polar opposite to Samhain. Festival of life. Gaelic (pronounced “law bal tuh nuh”). Refers to sacred bale fires, bonfires lit in ancient times for the goddess Bel or Belenos. Holiday for the union between the Goddess and God. Great joy! Flowers used to symbolize the union as well as the maypole. Decorate the maypole to celebrate the union between Goddess and God. This creates pregnancy for when she gives birth at the yule. Maypole is decorated with flowers and ribbons. It is a magickal dance that unites the Goddess and God and binds them in love.
  • Midsummer (June 20-22) – Summer Solstice or Litha (Lesser Sabbat – God). The longest day of the year or the high point of summer. Celebrates the height of the power of sun and all life. Acknowledges that after this day the sun weakens and grows short. Many names – God of Life in the physical world, principle archetype of the God.
  • Lughnassadh (pronounced “Luna suh”) (August 1) – (Grand Sabbat – Goddess) Marriage of Lugh who is the Celtic god of the sun and the Goddess. God of vegetation and cultivated fields. The first harvest of grains. Beginning of Autumn by traditional reckoning. Festival of the first fruits. Celebrates the death of Lugh. Lunar or Grand Sabbat, sacred to the Mother Goddess who provides the bounty of the earth. He is symbolically slain because of the harvest. His marriage is to the Earth. In this form, the lady of life is portrayed in the Venus of Willendorf who is one of the first goddess symbols recovered from ancient times (all over Asia and Europe). Celtic Lammas meaning first fruits.
  • Mabon (Sept 20-22) – Autumnal Equinox – (Lesser or Solar Sabbat – God) When day and night are again equal, a good time for divination because the veil is thinner. Middle or second harvest of the year focusing on fruits of the vine and trees. Marks the end of the fall season. Sun’s slow slide into Winter. Marks the sun’s ebbing force, also the fruit-bearing plants die. Celtic god Mabon or Maponos who died every year to be reborn in Spring. God sacrifices himself to keep the Wheel of Life continuing and will be reborn at Yule. Solar Sabbat. Sacred to the Father God, as King and Judge. He is the lord of the tribe and an elder of the community. In Celtic times, an elder man would symbolically give up his life. Grape harvest. Mabon honors the god of ecstasy and spiritual vision.

Esbats

  • Small ceremonies, honor deity on a personal level
  • Full Moon – 13 in one year (traditionally) because of the lunar calendar which had 28 day months.
  • New Moon – beginning of the new moon cycle, begins growth of power to the full moon. Traditionally held on the new (first “sliver” of light after the dark moon) and full moon.

Moon

  • The moon represents the goddess
  • Regulates the oceans (womb of the goddess), women’s cycles, constantly pulling and pushing everything in the universe (psychic tide)
  • Waxing Moon – New moon to full moon. Used to attract things magickally. This is the time that we want to bring to our lives.
  • Waning Moon – After the full moon, before dark moon. Use magick to banish things from our lives.

Relaxation Exercise
Take three deep breaths each inspiration, pause, expiration, and pause taking 3 seconds long. Tense each group of muscle enough to feel the muscle. Try to get to a point where you can tense up each muscle without moving the body part. The order of muscles: toes, feet, calves, thighs, buttocks, abdomen, fingers, forearms, upper arms, shoulders, neck, and scalp. Tense the right muscle group followed by the left one. Don’t release the muscle group before going onto the next. Keep the muscle group tense and add the next group. All muscles should be tense. Count for 3-5 seconds while all muscles are tense, then release. Get into a deep relaxation. That feeling of relaxation is the goal. That feeling is needed for when you do spell work, devotions, calling in the spirits, etc.

Homework: Relaxation exercise every morning just after waking up.

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Week 2 – Glossary of Terms

May 19, 2010 at 4:40 am (Glossary of Terms)

Patron – A patron deity is the particular goddess or god that one feels at home with. We are the devotee to the deity.

Universal deity – The different faces of deity are ways of understanding deity. All of the faces of deity reflect the same universal power.

Vangelo Delle Streghe – Aradian (Italian Witchcraft) scripture containing the creation story. It also contains the charge of the goddess and other Italian myths published by Charles Leland in 1899. Leland studied Withcraft extensively.

Aradian – Italian tradition, Italian Witchcraft.

Allegory – The supreme achievement of pagan religion. The art of using easily understandable symbols to describe difficult or abstract concepts. Allegory allows us to speak of energy as light, free ourselves for literal and opens the door to abstract thinking.

Chaos – Primordial Deity. The God/Goddess before Creation. The original state that contains all life in an undifferentiated state. Contains female/male, spiritual/physical, dark/light. It is the starting point and the endpoint of Creation. It is the wholeness of Deity. From which we come and will ultimately return. Chaos came before Primeval Deity. Self-awareness emerges forming Primeval Deity.

Primeval Deity – The God/Goddess before Creation being both feminine and masculine, spiritual and physical, resolving all opposites and polarities and containing in itself all things. It is both the origin and destination of existence. Most often represented as the Crone.

Crone – The Goddess in her aged form and represented by the waning moon. Rules over wisdom, understanding, magick, learning. People who do not possess wisdom and fear, mock the Crone (especially during Halloween as the old witch).

Hecate – Great Crone Goddess of Ancient Greece. Patroness of magick and wisdom. Goddess of uncertain provenance. She has perception outside of the classical Greek pantheon. Also known as being from the Mycenaean which precedes the classical cultures. Each culture has a form of Hecate. She is the patroness of European Witchcraft.

Vibration – The rate at which energy moves. It’s also to believed to become slower or denser the farther down the seven planes.

Destiny – The lessons that are afforded in life, the chances for growth and the advancements put in our path. What we do with these is up to us. The lessons are chosen and agreed to prior to birth or incarnation. They have the purpose of trying to stimulate the growth of the soul. Consequently it’s said that life gives us opportunities, but we have freewill and can make our own choices around them.

Veil – Most people perceive the “lower” being easily (Planes 1-3). The higher aspects of being from we derive clairvoyance, telepathy, telekinetic, etc. most people need a lot of work. However those that are “born old” have a thin veil between the lower and higher selves. “Born old” people having a thin veil between the conscious self and the powers of the soul. Thus, they can access the “higher self” easily.

Lower Self – That part of ourselves of which we are generally easily aware including the physical, emotional, and mental (Planes 1-3)

Chakras – The energy centers of the body. There are thousands, but there are seven major chakras

  • 1st chakra – Root chakra – (in prostate in males, periurethra in females – base of spine); physical plane
  • 2nd chakra – Naval chakra – (testes and ovaries); emotional plane
  • 3rd chakra – Solar chakra – Mental plane
  • 4th chakra – Heart chakra – Astral plane
  • 5th chakra – Throat chakra – Soular plane
  • 6th chakra – Third eye chakra – (pineal gland) monadic plane
  • 7th chakra – Crown chakra – Divine plane


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Week 2 – Music of Spheres & Magick

May 19, 2010 at 4:30 am (Uncategorized)

The Music of the Spheres
The Seven Different Layers of Existence

Our experiences become the Goddess’ experience. All of the power and ability that the Goddess has is also a part of us. As we incarnate, we go through the veil. It makes us “forget” that we are part of the Goddess. We forget that we are spiritual beings, and we focus on our physical being. We are not as aware of what exists above us. When we leave the physical, we will go through the planes of existence or go through evolution. Involution is the movement from the spiritual plane towards the physical plane. Plane 1 is physical., 2 is emotional, 3, mental, 4 is astral, 5 is soular or egoic, 6 is monadic, and 7 is divine. We cannot devolve, only evolve. It is generally accepted that we are on the mental plane. That means that we can perceive the mental, emotional, and physical planes of existence. Although we have perceptions of the remaining 4 levels that are “higher,” we don’t exist there.

Planes 1, 2 & 3 are grouped together and are governed by the God. These are our “lower self.”
Plane 1Physical
Plane 2Emotional
Plane 3Mental

Plane 4 is alone. Astral is accessed in our magick and in our sleep. The feeling of flying, moving running, etc. is experiencing astral travel. Also called the “causal self” because we cause things to happen, experience in our “lower self.” The astral portion of our higher self is what sets all our potential events in motion whether we accept or reject them. Also called the “intuitional” or “buddhic” level. This is the level we shift to in order to do our magick.

We experience Planes 1-4 on a daily basis.

Planes 5, 6 & 7 are together and are governed by the Goddess. These are contacted in our “higher self.”
Plane 5Egoic self or Soular self
The soul is the separate personality of the higher self. It is the collective of the many lifetimes.
Plane 6Monad
Comes from the Greek monus or the individual. It is the perfect “self” which was directly separated from the Goddess (not to be seen as truly separated since we are still a part of the Goddess). The monad always moves to the “good” and is incapable of doing otherwise. Remembers the time of creation when all was one. It remembers being separated off of the Goddess and has a natural desire to evolve.
Plane 7Divine
The Goddess herself. At some point in our souls existence, it will be reconnected and reabsorbed into her. We experience for her. She sees, feels, and learns through us. This is so she can grow, learn, and enjoy life.

Being a witch means:

  • Successfully mastered use of energy
  • Understand the use of herbs
  • Honor the earth and its cycles
  • Follow a path of duality
  • Master magick

Magick is the manipulation of energy.

When you create a spell, it begins in the mind. After it is developed fully, it must go into the astral plane. We create it and send it into the astral plane. It comes back down into the physical realm and manifests itself there. Need to be able to focus and have the ability to master manipulation.

The universe is composed of energy. Energy reacts to two things: thought and emotion. This is why rising to the astral level allows for us to control energy. This is why clearing and releasing is so important. Creating energy without releasing it will throw the entire day off. Need to be in control of what we draw in, control, and dispel. It is important to hold onto the energy and release the energy effectively, so that the spell is fed and dispelled into the astral level.

Energy Meditation
Relax your body. Take three deep breaths each inspiration, pause, expiration, and pause taking 3 seconds long. Visualize the spine’s energy as roots that grow into the ground and into the pool of energy in the earth. Every time you breathe in, imagine that the energy is moving up your roots and into your solar plexus (the area in your abdomen below your sternum and above your naval). Fill the solar plexus with the energy from the pool of energy. With intention draw the energy from solar plexus and form it into a ball in your hands. Play with the energy. What does it feel like? How does it move? When you’re ready, you’ll need to dissipate the energy. You can put your hands on the earth and give it back. Or as you sense that the energy is weakening, you can just let it leak out into the air and bring your fingertips together.

Grounding Meditation from Starhawk – Similar mediation to keep our energies grounded in the Earth.

Candle Meditation
Relax your body. Take three deep breaths each inspiration, pause, expiration, and pause taking 3 seconds long. Visualize. Need to have 20 minutes of meditating. Burn an incense. Use this incense only for meditating, which will become a trigger for the mind. Must be the same incense for meditation. Have a candle. Use it for focusing. Sit at a table with feet flat on the floor. Crossing legs blocks energy. Start with the three deep breaths (3 seconds in, 3 seconds hold, 3 seconds out, 3 seconds hold). Light the incense and the candle after you do the three breaths. Take deep breath to smell the incense. Focus on the flame of that candle. Incense generally burns for 20 minutes. See what you see in the candle. If a thought enters, acknowledge it and let it go. Focus on the candle. Don’t do this in the dark because it will hurt the eyes. Meditate on a lit candle in a lit room. Don’t try to do this before going to bed because you’ll just fall asleep. Try to do it in the morning. Once you get used to the 20 minute focus, the candle will not be needed.

Homework: Candle meditation. This has to be done daily!

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Week 1 – Vangelo Delle Streghe

May 12, 2010 at 4:38 pm (Uncategorized)

Pagan Understandings

Pagans honor and celebrate the natural cycles of the earth. Rituals and stories have emerged that pay homage to the Goddess and God. This is a peaceful and loving religion and philosophy that can ground us, bring us great joy, and empower us to manifest our own destinies. Wicca is a modern term for mostly European pagan practices although it is a word that is constantly evolving.

A Historical Review: Pagans and Christians

Much of the pagan practices have been historically appropriated by Christianity, and was done in order to convert pagans in order to give Christianity more political power and control over people. Throughout the 1400s-1600’s Christians killed millions of women and men who they called witches. Thus, the term “witch hunt” emerged denoting the process of an aimless and wild search that has reckless and destructive results.

As we begin our journey to understand Pagan/Wiccan theological roots, we begin with our creation story:
Vangelo Delle Streghe.

The following is a brief description of the Vangelo Delle Streghe (“Gospel of Witches”), or the creation story. A more detailed description can be found at: http://www.sacredflamecircle.org/descent.doc (copy and paste the link)

This creation story was brought from Africa to Italy through oral traditions. Collection of legends preserved by witches and handed to Charles Godfrey Leland by Maddalana for the purpose of publication. Sublime allegorical account of the descent of spirit into matter. Stories are meant to be understood as allegory rather than fact.

Diana was the first created in all creation. In her were all things. She existed before chaos (Goddess without form existing in a void, having within her all things spiritual and material, without order or definition). Primeval deity has no sex. Sometimes it is considered female associated with the crone. Crone is the goddess in her aged state existing before the dawn of time. Hekate is the goddess of Samhain. Halloween was created to dilute the power of Samhain.

Primordial deity is pre-consciousness. Goddess in the void. Goddess come out of the void manifested as the chaos. Primeval deity after She gains self awareness.

Primeval deity was amorphous. She rested, recharged herself and gathered her energies. She began to stir and become aware of her existence. She began to desire, feel, and think. She wondered what it would be like to move, see, taste, hear, etc. “Out of herself the first darkness, she divided her self. Into darkness and light she was divided.” The God and Goddess were born out of light and darkness. The God became light, sparks, and flame. This was the Big Bang, or the start of physical reality. The ethereal remained with the Goddess. She is a continuation of primeval deity since much stayed with her. The God spread out, cooled, and become the stars and planets. As matter solidifies, the energy slows down or “falls into matter.”

The God is located in 7 planes of existence. Sun, moon, and planets visible with naked eye. From the lowest up. Plane 1 is physical., 2 is emotional, 3, mental, 4 is astral, 5 is soular or egoic, 6 is monadic, and 7 is divine.  Seven planes are referred to as the seven spheres or seven dimensions.

“And when Diana saw that the light was so beautiful…she yearned for it with great desire.” She wanted to receive it and trembled with it which was dawn. He kept flying. Being separate from the God did not allow for her to see, feel, etc. Without the God, she wanted to revert back. She counseled with the oldest part of her self – the primeval deity. “To rise you must fall. To become a higher goddess, she had to become matter.” She had to fall into matter and descended through the seven planes into physical.  We are one of the lifetimes that broke off so that she could experience matter. Diana took the form of the cat and got close to the God. Reassuming her own form, she made love with the god. She cast a spell. “She sang a charm.” She spun a yarn, or the cloth of life. This created the cycles, the seasons, and all life ever lived. She spins the thread, the God spins the wheel creating everlasting life.

Having placed her soul into matter, the Goddess used sound as a way to create the movements of the universe. The denser or more physical, the lower the frequency.

The more spiritual the energy, the higher it is. The universe expresses itself in the different layers through sounds.

Many Lifetimes
When we die, we go to the place called the Summerland to recuperate. Decision to be made – do we want to come back again, and what do we want to experience? When we return, we have a guide that gently helps us, and we come back with purpose.

There are no questions that cannot be answered. We just have to find a way to access the answers.

Magick vs. Magic
Magick is the connection and commune with the energies of the universe. Magic is the showmanship that is performed using illusion.

Homework:

Explore the energy between your hands. Rub them together quickly and vigorously (until your muscles burn). What’s the sensation? If you’re in the dark, can you see anything between your hands?

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